Sep 18, 2012

Creating Planets in Photoshop

Tutorial Difficulty: Easy
Time required to complete: ~ 10 min.

Hello and welcome to another Photoshop Tutorial !
Today we will talk about creating a planet inside Photoshop by using some planet textures and a few Blending Options. Here are some space scenes that I did lately using the same techniques:

Space Scene by VenomX3D

Space Scene by VenomX3D

So let's begin...

Step 1: Open Photoshop and create a new document having about 1000x1000 pixels. Fill the Background with Black.

Step 2: Use Google Images to find a nice planet texture [click here] save it on your PC, open it in Photoshop, then with the Elliptical Marquee Tool hold Shift to create a perfect circle and copy a part of the texture then paste it into the new document on top of our Background:

Step 3: Rename this new layer to Planet and duplicate it once (CTRL+J) then rename the duplicated layer to Glow and lower its Fill to 0% (under Opacity):

Step 4: Right Click the Glow layer > Blending Options and Modify the following:

Outer Glow - Blend Mode: Liniar Dodge (Add), Opacity 65%, White & Transparent Gradient, Size 38 px.

Inner Glow: Blend Mode - Liniar Dodge (Add), Opacity 75%, Default Color, Size 103px:

Step 5: CTRL+Click on the planet layer to select it then go to Filter > Distort > Spherize. Inside Spherize use 100% and hit OK. This will wrap our texture around giving it a 3D look:

Step 6: Next assign a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer on top and modify the Brightness to -58 and the Contrast to 80. These values are not fixed, you can play with them until you get something you like. The values depend a lot on the texture that you used.

Step 7: Let's bring some color into our scene. Add a Color Balance adjustment layer under the Brightness/Contrast layer and play with the Midtones/Highlights values or use my settings:

Step 8: Now Right Click the Planet layer > Blending Options, go to Gradient Overlay. Change the Blend mode to Overlay and use a Black&White (default gradient) and play with the angle if you want. We need to do this to make our planet's shadow so it looks more realistic.

Step 9: Create a New Layer on top of your Glow layer and under the Adjustment Layers & Fill it with Black. Change its Blending Mode to Liniar Dodge (Add) then go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare and add a Lens Flare on the planet's outline (if you miss make sure to undo and try again until you get what you like).

Step 10:  Our planet looks well already and sometimes I find planets that glow better than those with shadows. So this step is really optional depending on what you like. Create a New Layer under the Lens Flare, select a Soft Brush (the ones with 0% hardness) with a size of 500 px , use Black and add some shadows under the bottom right part as you can see in the image below:

So that's it. We have just created a nice looking planet inside Photoshop. I used some Nebula and Stars brushes for my space scenes (you can find plenty on google) so if you wish to add stars make sure to collapse all layers together so the planet's shadow doesn't interact with the stars under it.

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I'll see you next time with another tutorial.

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